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Phenobarbital and its relative phenobarbitone are sometimes used to control seizures.
Folate Phenobarbital can reduce folate levels, perhaps by increasing the rate of breakdown of the vitamin. 1–6 Over time, such a decrease can cause anemia. Taking folate supplements can correct this anemia. 7 Anticonvulsant-induced folate deficiency might also cause birth defects. Women who plan to become pregnant while on phenobarbital should be sure to take a supplement to prevent deficiency. 8,9
Vitamin D Phenobarbital appears to interfere with the normal absorption or metabolism of vitamin D. 10,11 In turn, this can impair calcium absorption. 12 Making sure to get enough vitamin D (and calcium) should help prevent any problems from developing.
Vitamin K Children born to women taking phenobarbital while pregnant may be deficient in vitamin K. 13,14 This might lead to bleeding disorders and facial bone abnormalities. Supplementing with vitamin K during pregnancy should help; however, physician supervision is recommended.
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